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Protesters burn government office in Jumla

Gorkha Post

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JAJARKOT —

Protesters have set two government offices ablaze in Jumla on Monday as the agitation entered ninth day demanding a separate Karnali province with special rights.

Protesters defied curfew that DAO had imposed from 8:00 am and set District Post Office and Agriculture Research Council’s Bagwani Office ablaze. The Bagwani building was totally destroyed in arson.

Demonstrators also burnt the main gate of District Post Office, a motorbike parked there, two solar panels and documents house in DPO.

Jumla DSP Bishnu Hari Koirala said they failed to soak the fire, as protesters pelted them with stones and the police could not reach the Bagwani building on time.
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District Headquarters Khalanga remained tense throughout the day, as protesters defied curfew orders. Six agitators were injured when the police batons rained down on them. The condition of two of the injured is said to be critical.

Jumla DAO has issued shoot-at-sight orders for defying the curfew. Issuing a public notice, DAO requested that people in general not leave their homes during curfew hours.

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Economy

Govt decides to award Budhi Gandaki Hydel project to Chinese firm again

Gorkha Post

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KATHMANDU — The government has decided to award contract for the construction of the 1,200-megawatt Budhigandaki hydropower project, a national pride project, to China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) once again.

A Cabinet meeting on Friday has decided to award the contract for the project to CGGCL reverting the erstwhile Sher Bahadur Deuba government’s decision to develop the 1200MW project with internal resources.

The Cabinet meeting has directed the Energy Ministry to initiate the process to award the project to the Chinese company.

Following the government decision, the Energy Ministry will now invite the Chinese company for talks and prepare a draft of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) before signing it, according to multiple sources at the ministry.

As per the Cabinet decision, the ministry has been asked to hold talks with the Gezhouba, prepare a proposal, and strike a deal to execute the $2.5 billion reservoir project.

Earlier on May 15, 2017, the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government had awarded the contract to construct the Budhigandaki project to CGGCL, juat nine days before he was to resign from the PM’s post.

The Dahal-led government had awarded the contract to CGGCL at a cost of Rs 260 billion as per a study carried out by a French company, Tractebel Engineering.

The agreement, however, invited controversy as the project was handed to the Chinese company without initiating a competitive bidding process.

The Budhi Gandaki hydel project has been touted as a key project to resolve the perennial power crisis in the country. The government has allocated Rs18 billion for compensation payments and operational expenses for this fiscal year.

The Gorkha and Dhading district administration offices are currently distributing compensation to owners of the land taken over by the project.

More than 8,000 households will be affected by the project, according to the latest report.

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